May 16, 2012

Memories live on with passing of special friends

It's been only a few weeks since I said goodbye to two special women in my life. One was a "country" lady and the other a "city" lady.

The "country" lady was Mary "Elizabeth" Ellsworth Mount, 93, who died April 27. She was my vacation Bible school teacher at the Presbyterian Church in Westville when I was 5. Mrs. Mount helped me memorize scripture, was proud of my stick-figure Bible characters and taught me Bible stories on the flannel board.

(For the younger set, the flannel board was just that, a large square board covered with flannel that was used as a sticky backdrop for flannel people and animals to tell a Bible story. No PowerPoint back then.)

Her signature on several of my VBS certificates says I passed my classes from primary to intermediate. In junior high, her husband, Warren, taught me in released time classes. (He said I didn't do very well and produced the old test papers to prove it.)

I thought the Mounts would just be part of my happy childhood memories until 10 years ago when the Westville Historical Organization formed and we met again as members. It's hard to explain my happiness reconnecting with them as an adult. After several talks about genealogy, we discovered we are related by the McFaddin-Armstrong-McGibbon families. How wonderful!

They insisted I call them Betty and Warren, but that was very difficult because I was taught to call my elders "Mr." and "Mrs." Eventually, I became comfortable with our new relationship and loved every minute we spent together.

Betty's legacy, besides mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, includes teaching at the same one-room schoolhouse she attended as a kid, leading 4-H for more than 60 years at her great-grandfather's house next door, sharing local history and being married to Warren for nearly 67 years.

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